Our journey in the Autism Spectrum

Posts tagged ‘sensory overload’

The Third Time Is the Claw

Last weekend BDC took the kids to a birthday party at one of those arcade game places that serves pizza. No, not the one with that cheesy mouse character.  No, this particular venue I like to refer to as “the mouse on steroids”.  Everything is bigger, “better” and more-of.  There is laser tag, bumper cars  and go-karts in addition to a crap-load of video arcade games; all under one roof.  There is an all-you-can-eat buffet, salad bar and dessert bar.  As a potential selling point for the parents, there are several themed dining areas separate from the gaming area where the adults can hide enjoy a fairly tasty meal.  I highly recommend the giant cinnamon rolls.  But I digress.

So, in this super-sized world of multi-sensory stimulation, the first thing that draws my kiddos’ attention (after the go-karts & bumper cars) is the giant claw machine.  In my experience as a mother of three darling children, these machines are nothing but heartache and are the money-pits of all arcade games.  For $3 you get one chance to pluck out  a prize with a claw that barely has any actual grasping capabilities.  (I’m being generous with my use of “barely”.)  At least with the other games there is a pretty good chance for them to win a few tickets that can be accumulated to trade in at the prize counter for a piece of gum.  But this giant claw machine has piles of BIG toys.  Real prizes.  All just heaped up in a tower of treasures enclosed in a crystal clear glass box perfect for the picking.  And the heavens open to shine down the brightest of lights on these gems.

Of course your kid wants the one and only, awesome, giant, super-shiny,-blingy-bling thing inside that prize bin.  They want it bad.  They HAVE to have it.  They are CERTAIN, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that with their super-power claw skills, they can surely win that prize and it will forever be held in highest regard of all the crappy treasured arcade game prizes.  After several tries accompanied by multiple outbursts, a flood of tears and their college tuition, they MIGHT finally grab a .25 cent stuffed something-or-other.   (That new X-Box they wanted for their birthday but didn’t get because it was too expensive now looks like a bargain.)   Hence why BDC and I usually bribe (because it’s just cheaper) encourage the kids to forego the claw.  Although, I admit there have been times when our patience has been tried as thin as tissue paper and we, ourselves, are sensory overloaded, that we’ve been known to cave acquiesce. That being said, we have the condition of  “three tries only”.

This recent birthday party, with BDC running solo with the two little ones, was one of those times.  $3. Nothing.  Another $3.  Nothing.  Okay.  This is it.  “This is your last try Henry.”  $3.  Henry positions the claw.  Runs to one side to eye-ball the logistics.  Then to the other side.  “Henry you have 12 seconds to try to make a grab.”  More assessment.  Then he releases the claw which grabs a most coveted prize and moves toward the shoot, prize dangling precariously.  And then drops.  Into the shoot!  Hoots of glorious joy!  Henry won  a giant, nubby, yellow ball, the most appropriate of prizes for my little dude on the spectrum!  Which, by the way, to date, is being held in the highest regard of all arcade game prizes!

My proud boy sits upon his treasure!

My proud boy sits upon his treasure!

A Post That Makes Me Gag

My Facebook page, A Chameleon in the Spectrum, has been a little quiet lately. Between work and family, sickness, and trying very hard to get things accomplished around the house, I just haven’t had a lot of time to check in there. This morning I stopped by my page to try to get caught up, perhaps throw out a status post, share a meme, etc. As I scrolled around I noticed that most of my personal status posts, those other than sharing someone else’s post, have been about vomit. Or emesis for those medically inclined. Puke, barf, up-chuck, or throw-up for the rest of us.

It seems I’ve cleaned up at least as much puke this week as I have done in my whole life. It’s one of the few things that truly turns my stomach. Literally. No pun intended.  I really do have to fight to not throw up myself. Our two girls are pretty quiet and “neat” about it. As for the little dude, well ASD and vomit are a horrible combination.

There is much crying and screaming and throwing up all along his way to try to get to our room. The bathroom is right across the hall from his room which he must pass on the way to our room, by the way. As soon as we hear him usually we are able to head him off at the end of the hallway to find he has thrown up just about everywhere except the toilet.  I do my best to calm and support Henry, getting him to lean over “the bucket” or the toilet, rubbing his back while trying not to gag as well. Grant and I have spent hours this week, at all times of the night mind you, cleaning and sanitizing every square inch of the path from the kids’ bed room to hallway to bathroom. (yes, including the walls.) We’ve done LOADS of laundry and thrown out two area rugs to the garbage.  It’s no wonder that I’ve been preoccupied with vomit.

Now, my mother LOVES to tell the story about how when I was a kid, I was the worst for throwing up. There was much crying and screaming and stomping and throwing up everywhere. I remember. I hated throwing up because it completely. freaked. me. out. I couldn’t breathe. My whole body was seizing up and out of control. And what throwing up actually feels like…ewwww!   I  remember when I was throwing up my entire being could only focus on the FEELINGS of throwing up. The term “sensory overload” sounds familiar and seems appropriate here. And I’m not even on the spectrum.

In case, by chance, you’re curious about the mechanisms of throwing up feel free to click here. I don’t need to go  into how this process  affects our senses either as we’ve all experienced it. (You’re welcome.)

I wonder what it must feel like for Henry. All I can imagine is my experience with throwing up multiplied by 100. It’s awful to see your child get sick. When I think about the sensory aspect of it for my son on the autism spectrum…well, it’s just that much worse. So many hurdles for him to overcome. It seems odd to add “throwing up” to that list of challenges.  As he continues to grow and learn and cope, I know he will learn to deal with many things, including throwing up. I just wish it wasn’t such a GROSS challenge. And I certainly hope he’ll learn he doesn’t have to obsess  about  it after it’s over.


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